16 Sep 2022 8:15 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi University (DU) to provide electronic voting machines (EVMs) for forthcoming Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA) Elections 2022, scheduled for September 28.Justice Sanjeev Narula said that the employees of DU deputed for operating EVMs at the time of polling will be extended full courtesy by DHCBA. The Court also added that the DHCBA...
The Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi University (DU) to provide electronic voting machines (EVMs) for forthcoming Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA) Elections 2022, scheduled for September 28.
Justice Sanjeev Narula said that the employees of DU deputed for operating EVMs at the time of polling will be extended full courtesy by DHCBA.
The Court also added that the DHCBA Election Commission shall ensure that none of officers or employees of DU face any untoward incidents or circumstances and shall share their contact numbers with them so that they can reach out to the Election Commission in case they face any difficulties.
"In order to ensure that EVMs provided by DU are returned after elections, Election Commission is directed that data of such EVMs shall be saved, preserved, and secured, and EVMs would be returned to DU immediately after declaration of results," the Court said in an order passed yesterday.
The Court was hearing a plea moved by DHCBA against deferment of its elections on account of non-availability of electronic voting machines (EVMs).
The University of Delhi has been providing EVMs for conducting elections to DHCBA as well as other Bar Associations of Delhi.
The DHCBA has challenged Delhi University's letter dated September 8 stating that before providing EVMs for the upcoming elections, an arrear of Rs. 1,10,29,948 has to be cleared pertaining to 2019 DHCBA elections.
Accordingly, on September 10, the DHCBA resolved that since Electronic Voting Machines were not available and it will take some time to arrange it from other sources, it would not be possible to conduct the DHCBA 2022 elections as per the schedule. The elections were deferred till further notice.
The plea thus avers that the illegal unjustified and arbitrary action of Delhi University has led to sabotaging the scheduled elections.
The plea thus seeks a direction on the Delhi University to supply EVMs for DHCBA 2022 elections without insisting on any demand of alleged dues. It also seeks a direction on the Association's Election Commission to conduct the elections on September28, as per the schedule.
Yesterday, the Court also directed the DHCBA to make an ad-hoc payment of Rs. 5 lakhs to DU towards the impugned demand.
The Court was of the prima facie opinion that since DU is not in the business of renting EVMs, there is no apparent loss sustained by it which would form the basis of the impugned demand.
The matter will now be heard on October 13.
Earlier, the Association's Election Commission had informed the Court that it has resolved to suspend its decision to defer the 2022 elections and that it will explore all the alternative options to get EVMs, in coordination with the bar association.
However, it was clarified that the date for filing of nomination papers shall be 13th September instead of 12th September.
The Association's Election Commission also informed the Court that if no alternate source of EVMs is available within one week, then its decision dated September 10 to defer the elections will stand till the EVMs can be arranged.
As per the 2022 DHCBA election schedule, the time for filing of nomination papers was from 12th to 14th September (now starting from September 13); scrutiny of the nomination papers is on 15th September; withdrawal of nomination papers is from 16th to 17th September and the polling is scheduled for 28th September.
Case Title: DHCBA & Anr. v. University of Delhi & Anr.